1 month ago

Roy Moore weighs Senate re-run despite GOP opposition

Conservative lightning rod Roy Moore of Alabama, narrow loser of a turbulent special election for Senate in 2017, is considering a fresh run next year.

National Republican leaders are signaling they will again try preventing their party from nominating the twice-removed state jurist whose campaign was battered by allegations of long-ago sexual harassment of teenagers.Moore’s defeat for the same seat two years ago made him the first Republican in reliably red Alabama to lose a Senate race in a quarter century.

National party leaders say a Moore nomination would endanger what they view as a strong shot at defeating Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), the Democrat and former federal prosecutor who upset Moore two years ago.

Moore’s nomination could also have national repercussions, allowing Democrats to accuse the GOP of ignoring the #MeToo movement and coddling a man accused of sexual misconduct, allegations he has denied.

Moore says he expects to announce a decision in mid-June.

“I’m still praying about it and talking to people, my family, my wife and I’m strongly considering it,” Moore, 72, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

In a separate AP interview last week, he said 2020 “could be a touchpoint in our nation, not only for the presidency but for the House and Congress.”

Moore said he had many reasons for considering another campaign but declined to elaborate.

Republicans control the Senate 53-47 and view defeating Jones as a top priority.

Jones, 65, is considered the most endangered Democratic incumbent facing re-election in 2020, a year when several GOP senators are vulnerable and control of the chamber will be at stake.

Alabama’s deep conservative leanings were demonstrated anew this week with a new law criminalizing nearly every abortion in the state, which Jones called an “extreme” attack on women.

With abortion potentially a driving 2020 issue and President Donald Trump certain to carry Alabama easily in next year’s elections, Republicans have little interest in fumbling a chance to recapture Jones’ seat.

Establishment Republicans also have no taste for revisiting the chaos that was Moore’s 2017 Senate race.

His campaign and his refusal to abandon it after the sexual harassment charges emerged a month before Election Day divided the party, with President Donald Trump giving Moore his eleventh-hour endorsement while other leaders remained opposed or distanced themselves from the contest.

Jones defeated Moore by 22,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast.

“The people of Alabama rejected Roy Moore not too long ago,” Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, told the AP this week. “I with my Republican colleagues always want to be supportive of the most conservative candidate who can actually win a race, and I don’t see that anything has changed in the state of Alabama since the last election.”

Asked if he would try to head off Moore, Young said, “We’ll actively work to make sure that the most conservative, electable Republican is our nominee.”

Sending a similar signal was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who tried unsuccessfully to derail Moore in 2017.

Asked whether he would oppose a renewed run by Moore, McConnell told a reporter, “I think you know the answer to that.”

Alabama GOP leaders, who resisted pressure from Washington Republicans to hinder Moore’s path to the 2017 nomination, are showing no signs of thwarting him this time.

“The voters will make these decisions,” state party Chairman Terry Lathan said in an email. She said she didn’t know Moore’s plans because “he rarely communicates with the Party.”

McConnell’s and other party leaders’ preferred 2017 nominee was GOP Sen. Luther Strange, appointed months earlier to fill a vacancy.

They feared that moderate voters would abandon Moore if he was nominated because of his hard-right views against gay marriage and for a larger role of religion in government, plus his use of racially insensitive language.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with McConnell, spent $6.9 million in the primary against Moore and for Strange, according to Federal Election Commission figures.

The Republican senatorial committee spent another $400,000 to help Strange. Moore defeated Strange in a runoff.

McConnell began intervening in GOP primaries earlier this decade after some quirky contenders won nominations but lost winnable general elections.

After winning the nomination, Moore’s campaign was further roiled when The Washington Post reported claims by several women that he pursued inappropriate relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. McConnell and others unsuccessfully called for Moore to step aside.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, parried a question about whether the sexual misconduct allegations would make Moore a weak candidate in 2020, saying, “You’ve already answered your own question.”

Moore said Washington Republicans’ complaints that he could not win another election were unfounded since he was elected twice as the state’s chief justice.

He was removed both times, for publicly displaying the Ten Commandments and telling lower court judges to refuse to marry gay couples.

“Should I qualify I’ll run for Senate in the state of Alabama, not Washington, D.C.,” said Moore, who’s been strongly supported by evangelical voters.

Moore said he’s not reached out to Trump or White House officials this time.

“It’s not because I’m adverse to President Trump at all,” he said. “I support his policies and what he stands for. I’m not running for anybody else, I’m running for the state of Alabama.”

A White House spokesperson declined to answer questions. Trump presidential campaign aides did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope), former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville are among those who have already announced bids for the GOP nomination.

Strange filled the vacancy left by Sen. Republican Jeff Sessions, who became Trump’s first attorney general.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

University of North Alabama adopting new tuition plan

The University of North Alabama is switching to a tuition plan that officials say will result in increased costs for some students but not others.

Officials at the school in Florence say they are reducing the total number of student fees from seven to one, and fees will be included in the overall tuition cost.

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A statement says students taking 15 hours will see a maximum increase in expenses of 4.1%.

But some could pay less, and costs will not change for others.

School officials say a lag in state funding is a continuing problem.

North Alabama’s vice president for business, Evan Thornton, says the school has deferred maintenance and capital needs totaling more than $160 million.

The school has an undergraduate enrollment of about 6,200 students.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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11 hours ago

Nathan Lindsay joining governor’s office from BCA

Another high profile staffer from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) is joining Governor Kay Ivey’s senior level team.

The governor on Monday announced that Nathan Lindsay will join her office as director of appointments effective July 1.

This position is charged with spearheading the meticulous work that goes into Ivey meeting her duty to appoint qualified, representative and appropriate people to positions on the state’s various boards and commissions.

A press release from the governor’s office outlined that Lindsay assumes the role with an extensive background in state government and the private sector, which uniquely qualifies him to advise the governor in this capacity.

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Most recently, through his work in political and governmental affairs at the BCA, Lindsay interacted with members of the business community throughout the Yellowhammer State, which significantly adds to his ability to identify and select candidates for various appointed posts.

Additionally, Lindsay’s early career included time in then-Governor Bob Riley’s office where he served as aide to the governor from 2006 to 2011. Lindsay also worked in the governor’s communications office as deputy press secretary and advised Riley on education policy.

“Nathan brings to our team a wealth of knowledge that I know will serve the state well,” Ivey said in a statement. “In addition to his expertise and insight, Nathan is a man of character. The men and women of my staff must have a strong work ethic, a depth of knowledge and a heart for public service. Nathan certainly embodies all of these characteristics.”

Lindsay earned his bachelor’s degree from Faulkner University. During his time at Faulkner, he served as SGA president and later, in 2018, he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences.

“As governor, I have the important responsibility of appointing qualified individuals to serve on the more than 450 boards and commissions in our state. These men and women must not only be highly-qualified, but they should also be a true reflection of our great state,” Ivey added. “I am confident we will continue to find the best people to serve our state, just as I am certain Nathan will serve my Administration exceptionally well in this position. His experience speaks for itself, and he shares my goal of moving Alabama into a better future.”

This comes weeks after Leah Garner departed BCA to become Ivey’s communications director.

Mark Colson also left BCA to become head of the Alabama Trucking Association recently.

Update 5:55 p.m.:

BCA President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt released a statement commending Ivey on the hire of Lindsay.

“Nathan’s background and expertise in political affairs combined with his political acumen uniquely qualify him to serve the governor and the state in this capacity,” Britt said. “I have no doubt Nathan will do an outstanding job, and I commend Governor Kay Ivey on this excellent addition to her staff.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

11 hours ago

Alabama listed as one of the top 20 most patriotic states in America

A WalletHub report released Monday revealed Alabama to be on of the top 20 most patriotic states in America.

Ranked 19 overall on the list, with a score of 47.43, Alabama ranked first for the “Civics Education Requirement.”

The report “compared the 50 states across 13 key indicators of patriotism” and “ranges from share of enlisted military population to share of adults who voted in the 2016 presidential election to AmeriCorps volunteers per capita.”

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With one as “Most Patriotic” and 25 as “Average,” Alabama received the following rankings:

  • 5th – Average Number of Military Enlistees per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 30th – Active-Duty Military Personnel per 100,000 Civilian Adults
  • 17th – Veterans per 1,000 Civilian Adults
  • 1st – Civics Education Requirement
  • 12th – Share of Civilian Adult Population in Military Reserves
  • 10th – Share of Adults Who Voted in 2016 Primary Elections

Alabama also ranked eight overall for ‘Military Engagement.’

The report, which compared red states to blue states in terms of patriotism, found that red states were more patriotic. Red states received an average rank of 23.67, while blue states received an average rank of 28.25.

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

12 hours ago

Brooks: ‘Really dumb’ for Democrats to elect candidates mainly on ‘skin pigmentation or their chromosomes’

In an interview on WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show”on Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) lamented that many Democrats have become more interested in racial and gender identity politics than the welfare of America.

Coming off of her much maligned comments comparing American immigration facilities to “concentration camps,” host Dale Jackson asked the north Alabama congressman if he believes that Democrats in Congress will allow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to continue to serve as their “de facto face and leader.”

“Yes,” Brooks answered succinctly, promoting a follow-up request for his reasoning.

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“Well, she is where she is,” Brooks explained. “She’s got a lot of political power. She’s got a lot of support — surprisingly.”

“There are large, large numbers of American citizens who have bit off on this socialist stuff, who have bit off on this victimization stuff, who have bit off on thinking that the most important criteria in determining whether to elect someone is their skin pigmentation or their chromosomes — which is really dumb, OK,” he continued. “We oughta be electing people based on their character and based on their public policy positions.”

“But, notwithstanding that, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the face of the Democratic Party in many different respects, and she does have great influence as evidenced by the presidential candidates on the socialist Democrats’ side who are trying to cultivate her support,” Brooks added. “They want her endorsement.”

Listen, starting at the 8:25 mark:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

13 hours ago

Democrats hope it’s 2017 all over again, Republicans just want the nightmare to end

In 2017, Roy Moore won a Republican primary run-off against an extremely flawed Luther Strange. Strange wasn’t just a regular candidate — he had the cloud of his appointment, and he was dogged by former Gov. Robert Bentley’s investigation, impeachment and resignation.

Alabama Republicans, outside of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), were reluctant to criticize Roy Moore because they knew doing so would hand the Senate seat to now-Senator Doug Jones (D-AL).

But this is different.

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State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) told the Montgomery Advertiser that he blamed the GOP establishment in 2017, but still thinks Moore can’t win in 2020.

He stated, “I do not believe, with the numbers I look at, that Roy Moore at the end of the day can get the nomination.”

State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) dismissed Moore when asked about the candidates, saying, “If you look at the candidates, you got Roy Moore. I don’t think we need to say more there.”

Later, he all but endorsed U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) by saying Byrne “would do the best job.”

Secretary of State John Merrill, a potential future Moore opponent, believes Moore has an uphill battle against Jones.

“I think it would be extraordinarily difficult for Judge Moore to be successful in a general election campaign against Senator Jones,” Merrill outlined.

He added, “I also think it would be difficult for Judge Moore to secure the Republican nomination.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville), who endorsed Moore in 2017, has already endorsed State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs) and is on record saying former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions would be a favorite.

“I do believe that Jeff Sessions would clearly be number one in the poll rankings, based on his having been such a great senator on three principle issues: free enterprise versus socialism; deficit and debt; and border security,” he explained.

Say what you will, but you do not usually see these kinds of pronouncements from Republicans in the middle of a primary.

Democrats hope 2017 is going to be repeated in 2020, but there are many different factors that will matter.

Roy Moore is already fatally flawed as 300,000+ Republicans voters abandoned him in 2017 and stayed home. Many of those voters will vote in the primary in 2020, but will not vote for him.

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) expressed a similar sentiment on CSPAN last week.

“I personally don’t think Roy Moore is going to be our nominee, but whoever our nominee is will prevail in November because you’ll have the full complement of Republican voters turning out turning out to vote,” he said.

This is not 2017.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN.